SR 200 Prize for NOT Smiling :)
Yesterday was the last day of a 4-part seminar/workshop conducted by our Department. The workshop started January 4 (Tuesday) and continued for the next three Tuesdays.
I was not able to attend the first workshop as my boss “forgot” to invite me. However, I was invited on the second week – not by my boss but from another staff. Apparently there are some delegated works that I was assigned with, as a result of the workshop, which requires me to attend the succeeding workshops.
On the last day of the workshop, the Facilitator (who happens to be the VP of our Department), decided (in jest) to collect SR10 for every ‘mistake’ a participant will commit.
At the middle of the workshop, he came to me and tapped my shoulder and whispered “ten riyals”, my reaction was to ask “why?”, though he never bothered to let me finish my question, he just passed by.
A couple of hours later, he asked me to stand up and come to him, he then asked me and the audience if I am fit for a front desk job. I responded “No”, the audience agreed. The reason: I am not smiling. Then he called another person at the audience, to be used as an example as my opposite (with a smiling face).
I was interviewed (on microphone), he asked my job… I said ‘Planning and Programs Analyst’. Then he assumed I always deal with numbers from college and from my previous employers. I responded that yes I had previous experience in budgeting and cost analysis, but not really from college as I am a graduate of political science and not number-intensive course.
He countered, “Ah, so you are a politician, and politicians always smile…”. I replied back by explaining that the politicians we have are not necessarily political science graduates, it is usually the staffs of the politicians who studied politics and are working for the politicians. I think, I made him realize my point. I was excused and went back to may seat.
Towards the end of the workshop, we were asked to whom should the collected money be given. Various responses were given, including returning to the owners, donating to the support staff, to a specific person in the room, and so on. However, when it was our group was asked, I suggested (albeit absurd) that the money should be given to him, as payment for his attention.
Then he called someone (someone who shared a nice story at the workshop) to be the recipient of the collected cash. However, I was surprised when he also called me, to split the prize. This time, the idea is that I now “learned to smile”.
But to cut the story short (as I believe, he is hurrying to close the program to rush to the airport), he handed me the SR 200 riyals and asked me if I am married. When I said yes, he asked “are you going to bring your wife for a dinner tonight?”. I responded, I will use the money to pay for my security violation. He was taken aback while the crowd elicited with laughter. Then he said, “ok I will let you tell your story”.
After I told them my story for about several minutes, the workshop was adjourned, while a group from security division swarmed to me to have a quick chat with me.
The thing is that, I received SR 200 for not smiling… or (at least for the idea that) I learned how to smile :)